Have you ever heard of Hazmburk Castle? I guess not 😀. This appealing ruin of a medieval castle is very popular with locals but rarely visited by foreigners. Now, you have the chance to change it! If you’re looking for a tip on a great day trip out of Prague, read further!
Beautiful scenery and gorgeous view
Hazmburk Castle overlooks the surrounding flat landscape from the top of a distinct hill. That means – if you want to get there, you need to climb it! But the hike is absolutely worth it. On the summit, you’ll be rewarded with an awesome 360° view!
Like other peaks in the area of the Central Bohemian Highlands, this hill is of volcanic origin. Millions of years ago, volcanic activity took place in some parts of today’s Czech Republic. The dozens of small peaks we can see here nowadays are only remnants of what once used to be a lava flow or a lava accumulation underneath the Earth’s surface.
Short history of Hazmburk Castle
In the beginning, Hazmburk wasn’t a castle suitable for living. In the middle of the 13th century, a local nobleman built only a watchtower here. It should have protected his property – from its top, guards could see an enemy or other danger at a long distance. In the next century, the castle purchased the Zajíc family. They expanded the castle with new buildings, a second tower, and walls around the castle area. Afterward, Hazmburk became the seat of this family.
Hazmburk Castle was never taken by force. In the middle of the 16th century, its owners abandoned it and moved to a more comfortable residence. And because nobody took care of it anymore, the place gradually fell into ruin. You can learn more about the castle’s history here.
What to do in Hazmburk Castle?
Before the visit, don’t forget to check the opening hours! There is no guided tour of Hazmburk Castle. After you pay the admission fee at the entrance (100 CZK), explore it by yourself! You can walk freely over the former castle grounds, peek into its nooks, and enjoy the view.
In the highest part of the castle, you’ll find the White Tower. It’s the original watchtower, and its name comes from the color of the material it was build of. Unlike the rest of the castle, built of local dark basalt stone, the upper part of White Tower was constructed of lighter sandstone. However, today, the material is weatherworn, and the difference is not very visible.
Take a look into the tower, and don’t forget to visit the observation deck on its top! But first, you’ll need to climb 127 stairs! The effort pays off, though. The panoramic view from the top is stunning! You can see other peaks of the Central Bohemian Highlands and the other tower below. That one is named the Black Tower. Do you remember why? 😀
Good to know before you go…
As I’ve already mentioned, Hazmburk Castle stands on top of a hill. Although the hike is not very demanding, I highly recommend hiking shoes or at least good sneakers!
How to get to Hazmburk Castle
If you decide to come here by public transport, take a train to the small village of Slatina. The journey from Prague takes 1,5 hours.
From the train stop Slatina pod Hazmburkem, follow the yellow trail to the village. Believe it or not, this settlement was founded even before the castle (first mentioned in the 11th century). When you look at the map, you may notice how it’s arranged in an oval shape. It is a so-called rundling – an early medieval type of settlement. In its central place, there used to be ponds.
After walking through the village, continue uphill to the crossing with the red route. Along the way, you can enjoy the view of the castle. Once you come to the crossing, follow the red sign to the castle. A 4 km long leisure walk from the Slatina train stop up to Hazmburk takes about 1,5 hours.
After the visit to the castle, you can return back to Slatina. But I really recommend continuing along the red route to the town of Libochovice because you’ll able to see Hazmburk from another (and even more photogenic) perspective.
You can manage to descend from the top of the hill and walk to the train station in Libochovice in about 70 minutes. The last few hundred meters of the trail run along the road, so be careful! The train from Libochovice runs approximately once an hour (every two hours on weekends – check before at home or at the train station). If you have a lot of spare time, you can spend it in the local chateau park, which is accessible for free.
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Did the castle span the entire area between the square tower and the round tower?
Thanks for your comment Joseph!
Yes, the area between the towers was built up. Historians say that there were three palace buildings altogether. But they don’t know exactly what they looked like. In the White Tower, there is a model of the castle showing its probable appearance at the time before it was abandoned: